From this morning’s New York Times, from writer Thomas Groome:
Amid Mr. Trump’s dysfunction as president, Democrats may have a chance to reclaim their Catholic base in the 2018 midterm elections. By tradition and by our church’s teaching on social justice, many Catholics could readily return to voting reliably Democratic. But for this to happen, their moral concerns regarding abortion must get a hearing within the party, rather than being summarily dismissed. How might that happen?
To begin with, Democratic politicians should publicly acknowledge that abortion is an issue of profound moral and religious concern. As a candidate, Barack Obama did just that in a 2008 interview, saying, “Those who diminish the moral elements of the decision aren’t expressing the full reality of it.”
Democrats should not threaten to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funds to be used for abortion except in extreme circumstances. They could also champion an aggressive program to promote adoption by strengthening the Adoption Assistance Act of 1980 and streamlining adoption procedures. The regulations in many states seem designed to discourage it.
Democratic politicians should also continue to frame their efforts to improve health and social services as a way to decrease abortions. The abortion rate dropped 21 percent from 2009 to 2014. That downward trend would most likely end if Republicans eliminate contraception services provided through the Affordable Care Act.
That Donald Trump, claiming to be anti-abortion, got the majority of Catholic votes to defeat a competent and decent Democrat underscores the continuing influence of abortion in American politics. If Democrats want to regain the Catholic vote, they must treat abortion as a moral issue, work for its continued reduction and articulate a more nuanced message than, “We support Roe v. Wade.”
There’s much more. Read on.